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News & Notes

5 Tips for Completing an Epic Drone Shot

From the May/June 2017 issue

Since commercial-grade drones hit the market in 2013, filmmakers and videographers have gained the ability to capture a perspective once limited to those who could afford to charter airplanes or helicopters. What’s more, drones give pilots the ability to operate much closer to their subjects on the ground. You can see this distinct vantage point in major motion pictures, music videos, and even news programs.

Mastering the art of flying a drone to the point where you’re comfortable enough to execute your vision or that of your employer, understand the fundamentals of filming your subjects, and develop the observational instincts required to identify compelling locations are the core of an epic aerial shot. These can only come with time and experience. However, there are a few things you can do that will help you on your way.

1. Check your micro-SD card and your gimbal angle

Don’t bother hitting the record button without making sure your micro-SD card is compatible with your particular drone. Yes, this can be a problem. Visit the drone manufacturer’s website for its recommendations on the range of cards you should use. If you end up with a discount or knockoff brand, your footage might suffer.

Also, make sure you use your drone’s gimbal pitch control to tilt your camera down slightly. There’s nothing worse than seeing propellers buzz along the sides of the frame, a result of filming straight ahead without bothering to adjust the camera angle.

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